ARGENTINA, Agustina Suvá •
Between December 26 and January 5, more than 400 young people from different provinces of Argentina went on mission. Although everything was going against them because of the increase in the number of cases of COVID at the national level, they were able to carry out the missions… and they were truly a celebration. —
Sixty young people from Salta went on mission in El Galpón, eighty from Tucumán in Trancas, 120 from Córdoba in Colona Caroya and 150 from Buenos Aires in Balcarce. They were accompanied by priests of the Schoenstatt Fathers’ community and, in some cases, by Sisters of Mary. The MTA missionary group from Buenos Aires celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
“10 days dying of heat, sleeping on the floor?”
“Spending New Year’s on mission? Not possible.” “10 days dying of heat, sleeping on the floor?” “Bathing with cold water?”… Expressions like these can be collected in thousands, and there are even mor missionary boycotters. Fortunately, the young missionary has something in his restless heart that motivates him, that drives him and teaches him that it is worth it to take a chance for something bigger.
“I return every year to go on mission because it enriches me to end and begin the year with Mary and with Jesus. This year, at the New Year’s Mass, it was 12 o’clock precisely at the moment of the consecration, and it was really very touching to be in that place and to experience the beginning of the year in that way. This year was more difficult because of the pandemic, there were activities that we could not do, or we had to modify, but despite everything the mission was incredible.”
Rosario García Bes, missionary of Ignis Mariae Salta
Let us relieve each other
In 2009 I was rector of the Ignis Mission of Salta and Tucumán. During a visit to a house, a lady asked us how we had the strength to go on mission, how we were able to dedicate so many days to helping others “without receiving anything in return”, how we were able to bear the problems of others. At that moment, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, I said to her:
“We carry our crosses all year long, we certainly have our problems, our difficulties and we are ordinary young people. However, during these mission days we choose to help others to carry their crosses to relieve them, even if it is only for a few days, a few hours. We simply come to share our crosses for a little while and relieve each other”.
To this day I remember the astonished expression of my companions when we left the house, and I laugh because it was really an illumination. The lady was relieved, she was able to open her heart and tell us what had weighed so heavily on her. More than ten years have passed since then and to this day I still remember it as if it were yesterday. The missions in my youth taught me that the important thing is to give oneself as oneself, to speak from heart to heart and to spread the joy of living in Christ.
Mission is an encounter, an encounter with others and with oneself. It may sound trite, but undoubtedly the missionary ends up as a missionary, he ends up learning from the one he supposedly went to help. The young missionary ends up full of teachings and life lessons.
“The MTA school connects you. In times of hyperconnectedness and overabundance of screens, a post-pandemic diagnosis shared on different levels: “I don’t connect”. I heard it in relation to friends, God, partners, and self. In those moments I fight the temptation to offer connection protocols, to change routers and force outages. The best connection occurs to the extent that each one can discover his or her own signals: voices of the soul; motions of the spirit; inner world. I am more and more convinced. It is from within. It is from within. Outside are the protocolized prescriptions, the disembodied technique that diagnoses and the depersonalized tradition that cancels you out. God is already sending signals inside you. Christmas all our lives and a night together with You; if there is no gallop our heart stops.”
Fr. Juan Molina
Young missionary, why do you continue to go on mission?
Despite everything playing against you, despite everyone telling you that it is more fun to go on vacation or to go out on New Year’s Day, why do you do it?
Because to go on mission is joy, it is a journey and a teaching. From each mission one grows, from each talk one learns, from each pilgrimage one is educated. It is a school of humility, where gestures are worth more than a thousand speeches, where hugs fill the soul, and where tears wash the wounds of the heart. Mission is unique and indescribable, “it is the best state of man”, as José María Sanguinetti, a missionary from Salta, would say.
And the best of all is that you are not alone. There are hundreds of young people throughout the length and breadth of the country who vibrate for the same ideal: to send the message of joy of Jesus and Mary with their youthful testimony. “He sent them out in groups of two by two” (Lk 10:1). Here you are not alone, there will always be someone by your side accompanying you in the leap of faith and playing for the same.
Source: www.schoenstatt.org.ar, with permission of the editors
Original: Spanish, 29.01.2022. Translation: Maria Fischer @schoenstatt.org